Summer Session Training with Basketball

Two weeks in the books with UNH Men’s & Women’s Basketball

With the increased activity on-court as well as getting back into the classroom we took a basic approach in the weight room following Dan John’s thoughts on strength training – push, pull, squat, hinge, carry with some additional power work sprinkled in. Simple but not necessarily easy.

It should be noted that we have taken a slightly different approach with the two teams with a handful of similarities. Both teams are pushing sleds at some point during the week as a strength exercise. Then men are going much more intense at the moment, and as a result we have been more aware of eccentric lower body work. The women are not doing nearly as intense on-court sessions and are performing more traditional strength work.

30 Quotes from Tools of Titans

Anyone that knows me knows that I read…a lot. Over the last couple months I have been slowly going back through Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss which is chalked full of information, advice, quotes and anything else you can think of in regards to success – all from some of the most successful in the world.

Here are 30 quotes (there were waaaaaay more then 30) that stuck with me;

  1. The worst thing you can ever do is think that you know enough. Never stop learning. Ever.
  2. If you’re looking for a formula for greatness, the closest we’ll ever get, I think, is this: Consistency driven by a deep love of the work. – Maria Popova
  3. Don’t believe everything you think. – BJ Miller
  4. Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers. – Pierre-Marc Gaston
  5. You’re not responsible for the hand of cards you were dealt. You’re responsible for maxing out what you were given. – Christopher Sommer
  6. If I had to prescribe two things to improve health and happiness in the world, it’d be movement and play. – Jason Nemer
  7. When in doubt, train your grip and core. – Pavel Tsatsouline
  8. If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success. – James Cameron
  9. It may be lucky, but it’s not an accident. – Chris Sacca
  10. It’s not what you know, it’s what you do consistently. – Derek Sivers
  11. Lack of time is a lack of priorities. – Derek Sivers
  12. Losers react, leaders anticipate. – Tony Robbins
  13. If you let your learning lead to knowledge, you become a fool. If you let your learning lead to action, you become wealthy. – Tony Robbins
  14. What is the ultimate quantification of success? For me, it’s not how much time you spend doing what you love. It’s how little time you spend doing what you hate. – Casey Neistat
  15. You are more powerful than you think you are. Act accordingly. – Seth Godin
  16. Losers have goals. Winners have systems. – Scott Adams
  17. Creativity is an infinite resource. The more you spend, the more you have. – Chase Jarvis
  18. If I had done what I was ‘qualified’ to do, I’d be pushing a broom somewhere. – Dan Carlin
  19. When you complain, nobody wants to help you. – Tracy DiNunzio
  20. The biggest mistake you can make is to accept the norms of your time. – Neil Strauss
  21. The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. – Richard P. Feynman
  22. The purpose of life is a life of purpose. – General Stanley McChrystal
  23. You can tell the true character of a man by how his dog and his kids react to him. – Shay Carl
  24. Many a false step was made by standing still.
  25. The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion. – Paulo Coelho
  26. Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect. – Mark Twain
  27. Living well is the best revenge. – George Herbert
  28. Those who are offended easily should be offended more often. – Mae West
  29. Free education is abundant, all over the internet. It’s the desire to learn that’s scarce. – Naval Ravikant
  30. Good isn’t good enough. – Jamie Foxx

Hand Supported Split Squat Variations

If you look at almost all the force producing efforts on the ice you’ll quickly notice that these forces are almost exclusively done on one leg. Because of that, one of my main goals this summer with our hockey group was to get them as strong as possible on one leg, and the Hand Assisted split squat variations have really helped us in doing so. Over the last 4-6 weeks we have been able to train with weights that we haven’t been able to touch in the past, allowing them to adapt to these greater degree and hopefully be stronger and more powerful come October.

Monday Musings

Happy Monday! Here are a few thoughts bouncing around in my head after a week of reading, podcasts and other continuing ed. Enjoy!

  1. I recently re-read Charlie Weingroffs The Concept of Lowest System Load and can’t help but think it’s totally underrated. It is probably a good way of looking at things year-round, but to me its almost a no-brainer when it comes to in-season training. As Charlie states in the article, “The concept doesn’t say use light things; it says use the lightest implement possible to accomplish what you want to accomplish.” Basically, chase the training adaptation you are after by using the lightest/least stressful movement possible; 1-leg squats, 1-leg RDL’s, chin ups, push ups, landmine presses, swings, TRX rows along with many others seem like all exercises that fall into this category.
  2. Most people lack ankle mobility. It’s often one of the major reasons people can’t squat bilaterally properly. Add more ankle mobility drills into programs. Add more calf soft tissue work into your programs. Work on it regularly – daily if possible.
  3. As a coach you should be able to modify every exercise/movement you do in the weight room to make it non-painful for the people you work with. Training through pain is never a good idea.

Weekend Week in Review

Another week, another group of podcasts and articles to read and listen to that I have dived into this past week. There was some really good stuff put out there, especially podcasts.

For podcasts, I really enjoyed the newest episode of the Strength Coach Podcast with Kevin Neeld. Kevin brings a well thought out and cutting edge approach to assessing ice hockey players, which is something I personally enjoy.

For articles, you can’t go wrong with the article written by Tony Holler or really any article written by Tony Holler. I also think there is a lot of benefit to watching the video Eric Cressey put out on correcting common mistakes in the landmine press, one of my favorite pressing exercises.



Strength Coach Podcast #234

Physical Prep Podcast with Pat Rigsby

South Carolina Women’s Basketball Training with Katie Fowler

FitCast #485 with Michael Boyle


Correcting Common Landmine Mistakes by Eric Cressey

Sprint Acceleration Mechanics and Performance by JB Morin

Starting Aerobic Exercise Soon After a Concussion

The Echo Chamber of the Experts by Tony Holler

Our Hierarchy

As a strength coach you need to balance the risk:reward with the athletes that you are working with. The goal should be to keep athletes as healthy as possible while improving their performance – but health has to come before performance. Our hierarchy should be;

Prevent Injuries Caused by Training 

If you are doing things in the weight room that leave you athletes in pain or worse injured, you are defeating the purpose of training. Athletes train to perform better at their sport and help to prevent sport related injuries. Getting hurt in the weight room is completely ass backwards.

Prevent Injuries in Competition

I don’t care who you are, whether you have the “perfect” program or something terrible, injuries in competition are going to happen. But, I am a firm believer that a good strength coach will generally have healthier teams…and even though some people may argue, a healthy athlete is always better then an injured athlete..seems like common sense.

Improve Performance 

Finally, improve performance. Build those faster athletes. Build those more powerful athletes. Give them the conditioning to play the entire game at full speed. Do it all. But it’s third on the list.

The point is this; if you get out of order, you have key players out missing games. Key players missing the games mean the team is less likely to win. Teams that aren’t winning much have staff turnover, and your left looking for a job. I don’t know about you, but I like having a paycheck.

Monday Musings

Happy Monday! Here are a few thoughts bouncing around in my head after a week of reading, podcasts and other continuing ed. Enjoy!

  1. The idea of micro-dosing strength training is really interesting, especially when it comes to in-season training. Essentially, instead of training two times a week with 45-60 minute sessions you train most days for 10-15 minutes. The team would come in and warm up, perform 2-3 lifts of 2-3 sets, then go to practice. Would this keep athletes fresher because you never perform a lot of work? Will this decrease any potential soreness because you aren’t doing a ton of work? Will this help athletes stay focused because the session is extremely quick? Will this have athletes buy-in to the strength program more because they are in the weight room almost daily? All questions I have but I tend to think ‘yes’ to all of them.
  2. A lot of people have been talking about KPI’s (key performance indicators) recently and what they are for the sport they coach. I think its simple, health is the biggest KPI. Nothing matters more then the health of the athletes you are working for. A healthy team will always have a better opportunity to succeed then an un-healthy team will be. Yes, athletes need to get stronger. Yes, athletes need to move better. Yes, athletes need to become more powerful. All this is irrelevant if athletes aren’t healthy. That being said, if I were to dial in on one athletic quality, I’d say the biggest KPI is eccentric strength and/or stability. Athletes need to be able to decelerate.

Weekend Week in Review

Another week, another group of podcasts and articles to read and listen to that I have dived into this past week. There was some really good stuff put out there, especially podcasts.

For podcasts, I really enjoyed the HMMR Podcast with Matt Price. Matt is the strength coach for the LA Kings and his thoughts on hockey were interesting. Bigger then that, Matt spoke a lot about micro-dosing, training with the athletes almost daily but only 2-3 exercises and 10-15 minutes of lifting each day. I find this micro-dosing thought process interesting and something I’d like to learn a lot more about.

For articles, Eric Cressey always makes me think. His article on how lower body exercises can impact upper body functional is excellent. One thing I’ve learned from Eric is that arm care programs aren’t just about band exercises and switching from barbell to dumbbell bench press – they are full body programs.



HMMR with Matt Price

Pacey Performance with Brett Bartholomew

Performance Concepts Chats with Don Saladino

Strength Coach Podcast #233 with Sue Falsone


New Rules for Being a Strength Coach by Todd Hamer

How Lower Body Exercises can Impact Upper Body Performance by Eric Cressey

You Still Have to Train During the Season by John Cissik

Very Stable Idiot Week 25 by Stu McMillan

Training in the Frontal Plane

I think it’s imperative that athletes train outside of the sagittal plane, whether you are trying to improve sport performance, keep them healthy, or trying to develop enhanced movement quality. It’s hard to argue that athletes need a healthy dose of multi-planar training.

Here are 5 non-sagittal staples in our training programs and their benefits;

  1. Lateral Bounds: developing stability/eccentric strength to jump but more importantly land safely in the frontal plane
  2. Side Toss: developing/linking power from the ground through the core/hips in the frontal plane
  3. Sled Crossover: improve groin health along with sport specific speed/acceleration mechanics
  4. 1-leg Squat: though you are technically training in the sagittal plane, the muscles surrounding the hip are doing a ton of stabilizing in the frontal and transverse plane, which is huge for injury prevention – the same could be thought for other pure 1-leg exercises like a 1-leg RDL
  5. Slide Board: large stress on the adductors and abductors for improved groin health

Monday Musings

Happy Monday! Here are a few thoughts bouncing around in my head after a week of reading, podcasts and other continuing ed. Enjoy!

  1. One thing I have been thinking about more and more is the value of bench pressing and wonder if it is something that most athletes need to be doing. Yes, we can move more weight when we bench press then we can when we are performing dumbbell pressing variations or push ups, but I also think we check more boxes with dumbbell pressing variations or push ups. The straight bar locks us in one plane – dumbbells allow our shoulders to work through a natural range of motion. 1DB Bench adds a huge core/shoulder stability component to the movement that we don’t get with the straight bar. Alternating DB bench also has a large core/shoulder stability component to it. Eric Cressey has written a lot about the benefits of loaded push ups. Seems like other movements check a few more boxes then benching with the straight bar.
  2. I find it funny that some coaches scoff at the idea of other coaches putting themselves out there on social media. It is without a doubt the best way for coaches to show the world what they are doing, share their thoughts with other coaches, and help develop the field. It is a great way to connect with other coaches and build relationships with coaches you would otherwise never get to know. I have learned so much from people I never would have known existed if it wasn’t from social media and been able to tweak what I do based on their thoughts. Also – its funny that these same coaches that complain about social media and don’t put out any content are online consuming everyone else’s content as a means of continuing education – can’t have it both ways.
  3. Though this time of the year is much slower in the weight room, its fun because I get more time to catch up on some reading, listen to a few more podcasts, and its seminar/conference season. It seems like every weekend there is a conference somewhere with great speakers sharing their thoughts. My Twitter feed is full of quotes from speakers in real time by attendees of the conference. Its great – I obviously can’t get to every single conference but I still get a few takeaways thanks to the people in attendance. Its a fun time of the year where a lot of learning takes place.